What’s next?

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I put together a presentation in October last year to spur discussions with my colleagues about trends in the digital world over the following year or so. I was looking at this slide deck last week and decided to share it here to hopefully spur some discussion.

Looking back on this deck I missed things like the rapid rise in interest for Facebook commerce and the group-buying phenomena, but that’s the risk with trying to stare into the future.

What about the stuff that I did include?

I think that I was on the money in terms of societal factors:

  • Muscular telecoms and media sectors has seen the reining in the internet with the Digital Economy Act being rubber-stamped by the judicial hearing throwing out arguments by BT and TalkTalk and the UK government actively looking at blocking sites a la a Great Britannic firewall. Ed Vasey isn’t even bothering to conceal or pay lip service to a balanced view; only meeting with media industry bodies advocating a more restricted online environment and internet service providers who wish to make this happen. As at the time of writing he has yet to meet with any consumer advocacy groups
  • Societal norming around privacy is something that is being driven by the EU. The anti-Google lobby has been driving regulatory awareness of privacy issues with recent investigations and raids on the companies offices in the US, South Korea and Germany

In terms of economic factors, the UK weak growth and government policies support my view of a likely double-dip recession and my recent trip to Ireland showed a country that didn’t seem to be fully addressing the fiscal challenges of its banking sector yet; so my predicted sovereign default isn’t off the cards. Ireland is one of the largest markets for British-manufactured exports, so the the impact will be felt here.

In terms of my predictions around the way social media is viewed Just media – drop the social – I suspect that the acquisition and embedding of social media analytics and measurement tools within enterprise software companies is part of this ‘mainstreaming’ movement. The move towards more trans-media campaigns and the coalescing of media agencies, digital agencies and advertising agencies in this space was inevitable. The hoovering up of digital PR talent by these agencies is likely to be an accelerating factor.

I don’t think that many organisations have moved beyond phase one of Community Management in terms of community building or gaining followers to think about the engagement aspect of things and I suspect that this will be a gradual change that will take more than 2011 to come to a realisation about.

On reflection Flight towards quality content should have been move towards quality content. However I believe that Google’s efforts to deal with content farm operations is likely to be an accelerator. The big challenge here is finding marketers that are willing to invest in non-direct lead generative activity in the current economic climate.

Privacy scare issues around the Android and iPhone have yet to fully play out, so my ideas may have been overly optimistic in terms of growth but I think that the points of focus were largely on the money. I am not sure that Facebook Places is the big move that people previously thought it would be.

In terms of mobile, I didn’t see the Nokia-Microsoft tie-up coming and now think that this is less of a wild card. I still stand by my recommendation however; whilst Android has the handset numbers, the iPhone has the app-centric consumers. I am still concerned about device and software fragmentation in the Android space as an additional barrier to recommending it as the default development platform. I am disappointed that RIM hasn’t proved me wrong, instead the company seems to be undergoing some kind of meltdown that if it wasn’t true you couldn’t have made it up.

Social CRM is something that is a work in progress in terms of companies. I don’t think that many agencies realise the full value of the work that they are doing in this area and why should clients enlighten them?

Despite the early promise of Quora, it has since been a disappointment, not coming up nearly as well as it should do. There hasn’t been the Twitter effect with early adopters propelling it forwards. Twitter is still a work-in-progress and who knows where the rumored acquisition of Tweetdeck will take things.